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3. Notes of a Journey from Ching-too to Sanhow. 
By Alexander Wylie. 

The voyage up the Yang-tsze as far as Hankow, 588 miles from Shanghae, 
is one of such constant occurrence, and has been so frequently described by 
European travellers,* that it would seem superfluous to dwell on particulars 
regarding it. Beyond that port comparatively few Europeans have yet ven- 
tured, and the most notable expedition is that of Captain Blakiston, who made 
his way to a distance of 961 miles farther up the great river, and has given to 
the public a very trustworthy and interesting account of his tripjf while 
Mr. Pumpelly, the American traveller, has described, from personal observa- 
tion, the leading geological features as far as the prefectural city of Kwei- 

From Hankow to within a day's sail of the city of I-chang, the course of 
the river is through an alluvial plain, with occasional clusters of hills here 
and there. From the last-named city the upper river navigation begins, and 
we enter upon the long series of gorges by which the stream makes its way 
through the great longitudinal mountain-chain of Central China. These are a 
formidable obstruction to the free navigation of the river; but, in that respect, 
they are surpassed by the numerous rapids, which occur in continuous suc- 
cession, from I-chang to the highest point attainable by boats. The chief 
points of commerce are Sha-she, I-chang, Kwei-chow, Yang-heen, Foo-chow, 
•Chung-king, Loo-chow, and Seu-chow ; and at most of these there is a navi- 
gable tributary of considerable length. At the city of Seu-chow the River 
Min forms a confluent, almost rivalling in magnitude the main stream, and up 
this river we tracked our way to the provincial capital. 

As I have elsewhere given a minute description of this part of our journey, § 
I will not here reiterate the details. The volume of water is but slightly 
diminished till we reach the city of Kea-ting, though the depth varies greatly 
in places from the widening of the channel. From this point upwards we 
observe a gradual diminution, and, as we approach the capital, the shoals offer 
a good deal of obstruction to the free passage of boats. It is only during the 
summer months that that portion of the river can be travelled, and in the 
winter time boats do not go higher up than Kea-ting. For picturesque beauty 
this river is nothing inferior to the Yang-tsze, the scenery offering many 
exquisite points of view. The prefectural city of Kea-ting is an important 
centre of trade, standing, as it does, at the confluence of the Min and Yang 
rivers two principal arteries of communication with the northern and western 
parts of the province. 

There are several great branches of industry along the banks of the Mm. 
The coal-mines form a perennial source of prosperity and wealth, extending 
for many miles on both sides of the river. The salt-wells, so remarkable for 
their construction and numbers, are an equally indispensable institution, upon 
which the western provinces are entirely dependent ; while the oil-wells, not 
far distant, furnish another, though less extensively used, article of domestic 
economy. The wax-tree plantations, chiefly in the vicinity of Kea-ting, supply 

* ' An authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the 
Emperor of China.' London, 1797. ' Narrative of the Earl of Elgin's Mission to 
China and Japan.' London, 1759. 

t ' Five Months on the Yang-tsze.' London, 1862. 

1 ' Geological ^Researches in China, Mongolia, and Japan.' New York, 1866. 

§ ' Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.' New 
Series, Part 5, 1869. 


the material for the coating of common candles, this being necessary to impart 
the requisite solidity, the inner part being made of vegetable tallow, which is 
excessively sensitive to heat. Many of the natives occupy themselves during 
the winter months gathering the minute particles of gold which are washed 
down that and the adjacent rivers, and become deposited towards the lower 
parts of the bed, which are only accessible in the winter months, when the 
water is at its lowest. Another speciality of that region is silk, which is 
largely cultivated, Kea-ting and the neighbourhood being famous for the pro- 
duction of white silk. 

As an object of antiquarian interest, there are few things in China that 
surpass the remarkable caves of the Man-tsze, one of the early races, who 
were exceedingly numerous and powerful in that part of the country. Their 
dwellings in the cliffs still remain in great numbers, alike suggestive to the 
archaeologist and the historian. 

The provincial city of Ching-too is one of the largest in the empire, and has 
some streets equal, if not superior, to any that 1 have seen elsewhere. Exten- 
sive warehouses abound, both in the city and subiirbs. The shops are well 
stocked; almost every commodity is to be found, and English, French and 
Russian goods are no rarity. Being the seat of the provincial government, of 
course the official establishments are numerous and imposing, and those con- 
nected with literary advancement are on a scale indicative of the prominent 
position held by such attainments in the national estimation. Like many of 
the cities in China, Ching-too can boast a very respectable antiquity, and 
during the third century of our era it was the site of the imperial residence. 
The only description we have of the city by any European is that of Marco 
Polo, whose brief, but graphic, account might, with slight modification, answer 
very well to its condition at the present day, although he portrays a state of 
things six centuries past. 

This city stands in a level plain, probably about a hundred miles from 
north to south, and nearly as much from east to west, irrigated by a number 
of streams. The River Min rises in Tartary, and is augmented by numerous 
tributaries, being confined within its rocky banks for several hundred miles, 
till it reaches the district city of Hwan. There, emerging from all restraint, 
it divides into a series of branches, spreading like a network, and fertilising the 
great plain. The larger number of these run south of the capital, and become 
concentrated again in the main trunk of the Min ; but one system of branches 
flow north of the city, and are diverted into other channels. 

Leaving Ching-too on the 27th of July, 1868, to traverse the plain in a 
northerly direction, we passed the first branch of the river, named the Tew- 
tsze-ho, a few miles from the north gate, by a bridge at the village of Sze-ma- 
keaou. The continuation of- this forms the navigable river flowing past the 
east gate of Ching-too, and known as the Outer River. The Pih-muh-ho and 
Seu-yen-ho, two other streams radiating from Hwan, unite their waters to the 
south of the district city of Tsung-ning, under the name of the To River. 
This we crossed by a handsome stone bridge, at the town- of San-ho-chang, 
about a dozen miles beyond the Yew-tsze-ho. Below this it flows in an easterly 
direction, receiving two accessories from the north-west, a tributary from the 
south-west, and an affluent combining the waters of two branches on the north 
side, a little beyond which it unites with the Meen-yang River, and flows 
south, under the name of the To", to the departmental city of Loo, where it dis- 
embogues into the Yang-tsze. The Tae-ping-ho, another of the streams that 
radiate from Hwan, divides into two branches, which re-unite lower down, and 
again divide into three branches, the southern of which passes north of the 
city of Tsung-ning, and south of that of Sin-fan ; after which it bifurcates, 
forming the above-mentioned two accessories to the T6 from the north-west. 
A little below San-ho-chang we crossed one of these arms, named the Kwan- 

N 2 


keaou-ho, being the boundary between the districts of Hwa-yang and Seu-too: 
There is a fine stone bridge, ornamented with a series of figure-heads of dragons 
and other fabulous animals. A short distance further brought us to the Kin- 
shwuy-ho, the northernmost of the two arms, a broad shallow stream made up 
of several confluents, spanned by a stone bridge. A mile or two beyond this 
is the district city of Sin-too, of medium size, with a tolerably prosperous 

Three miles north of this city we reached the Tuh-keaou-ho on the morning 
of the 28th. This is the second branch of the stream formed by the union of 
the two branches of the Tae-ping-ho, and passes north of the district city of 
Sin-fan. Plowing eastward, it passes the district city of Kin-tang, and, uniting 
■with another stream, enters the To as an affluent from the north. Two or 
three miles beyond is the Tseen-shwuy, the third branch of the stream formed 
by the union of the two branches of the Tae-ping-ho. This passes south 
of the district city of Pang, and forms the boundary between the district of 
Sin-too and department of Han. Flowing eastward, it passes the city of Kin- 
tang on the north and east sides, and unites with the Tuh-keaou-ho, forming 
an affluent of the To. Immediately north of this stream stands the town of 
Heang-yang-chang, at the other end of which is the Tsing-pih-keang, a branch 
of the Tseen-shwuy, which flows east to the Meen-yang River. There is a 
fine level bridge roofed over, forming a long arcade. The Me-mung-shwuy is 
a tributary to the waters of the Tae-ping-ho, from the north, near the point of 
divergence ; and the Ma-shwuy-ho is a river branching out from that tributary, 
■which passes north of the district city of Pang. This we crossed by a long 
level bridge of about twenty arches, at the town of Se-ching-keaou, three or 
four miles north of the Tsing-pih-keang. Plowing eastward it unites with 
the last-named stream ; and this is the last of the system of interlacing waters 
joining the Min and the To. Six or seven miles further on the road brought 
us to the departmental city of Han, a busy, and apparently prosperous place, 
■with some handsome temples and good shops. Eight miles beyond this city 
is the Meen-yang-ho, a river rising in the north-west of Meen-chuh district, 
and forming the northern boundary of the Ching-too Plain, which we crossed 
in a ferry-boat in the morning of the 29th. 

On leaving the capital we found a good broad highway, but at a few miles' 
distance it narrowed down considerably, and in some places it was little better 
than a footpath. A vast concourse of people thronged the road on our first 
day's journey, but the numbers diminished as we receded from Ching-too. 
There were pedestrian travellers of the humbler class by far the most numerous ; 
while those in easier circumstances were borne in sedan chairs; heavily-laden 
mules, and coolies with their ponderous burdens suspended at the ends of a 
bamboo pole, made up the bulk of the traffic. Our own party travelled in 
chairs with coolies to carry our luggage. 

Much the largest proportion of the land was occupied with rice, and 
occasional fields of maize, sorghum, and Koau-leang, a grain from which 
spirit is distilled. The bamboo was abundant, but forest-trees were rare 
and fruit scarce. A few pears and apples of an inferior kind, crab-apples- 
and greengages, formed the principal articles exposed by the dealers; but 
vegetables were to be had in great profusion and variety. Agriculture was in 
a flourishing condition, and the population generally bore an appearance of 

After crossing the Meen-yang-ho, we began to ascend rising ground, and 
found the cultivation diversified with the ground-nut, sweet potato, tobacco, 
and other plants requiring less water. On reaching the ridge of the first hill 
by a gentle rise, an agreeable view burst upon us ; on the right lay a fertile- 
valley, and, round in the south-west direction, ranges of low hills and undulat- 
ground, all richly cultivated. Continuing the ascent by a moderate gradient,. 


a mile or two brought us to the Pi-ma-hwan, or " White Horse Pass," * a spot 
famous in early history. This is a large walled enclosure on the summit of the 
range, planted with cypress trees, and entered by a gate which bars the high- 
way. The chief and almost only object of note inside, is the mortuary chapel 
and tomb of Pang Tung, one of the heroes of the Three-kingdoms period 
(3rd century), who was killed near this site. The building is large and hand- 
some, being kept in a state of order and cleanliness not commonly met with in 
similar establishments. The first hall from the entrance contains the effigies of 
Pang and his friend Choo-ko Leang side by side. The hall behind has the 
single image of Pang Tung, and a courtyard at the back contains the hero's 
grave, a circular mound with a low stone wall round it, out of which grow 
some fine old specimens of the weeping cypress. The whole establishment 
was restored in 1697, and a gravestone erected, bearing the inscription, " The 
tomb of Pang Sze-yuen, Pure Marquis, of the Han dynasty." Many ancient 
tablets of bygone dynasties decorate the building. 

Looking down from the hill, on the farther side, an interesting landscape met 
the view ; a succession of eminences stretching away to the distant horizon, 
covered for the most part with crops of varied produce, and dotted over with 
villages and hamlets, while here and there a city or town of greater pretension 
formed a focus for several converging lines of traffic ; and two or three water- 
courses meandering through the lower grounds served to fertilize the adjacent 
fields, at the same time that they gave a pleasing relief to the pictures, as they 
came in view at intervals in the rural scene. A steep and narrow path led us 
into a valley, where two or three miles further brought us to the district city 
of Lo-keang. The small portion of the city we passed through was quiet and. 

* I cannot help thinking that this is the place spoken of by Marco Polo in the 
following passage : — " This journey of twenty days towards the west being per- 
formed, you arrive at a place called Ach-baluch Manji, which signifies the white 
city on the confines of Manji, where the country becomes level, and is very 
populous. The inhabitants live by trade and manual arts. Large quantities of 
ginger are produced here, which is conveyed through all the province of Cathay, 
with great advantage to the merchants. The country yields wheat, rice, and 
other grain plentifully, and at a reasonable rate. This plain, thickly covered 
with habitations, continues for two stages, after which you again come to high 
mountains, valleys, and forests." — (Wright's edition, p. 250.) Wright confesses 
himself unable to identify the locality of Ach-baluch. Pauthier takes it to be the 

ancient town of ra //\ ptjOTt.; Pih-kung-ching, on the north of the Han. 

Klaproth thinks it was a place called rfl E5 ptMc- Ptk-ma-ehing, near the 

district city of Meen, on the Han. But the distance to these places does not at all 
agree, as it would make twenty-three days' journey from Se-gan-foo to the Han ; 
whereas that is just about the time required to the " White Horse Pass," at the 
primitive slow rate of travelling. The position of the White Horse Pass appears 
to me perfectly to satisfy the conditions of the statement. The twenty days' 
travelling over the mountains, and sudden arrival at the plain, with all the other 
details, might serve for a description of the country at the present day. Although 
there is no town there now, there is reason to believe there was one in Polo's 
time, for within a century after, at the commencement of the Ming, we know 
that there must have been one of some importance, as a superintendent inspector 
was then placed over it. We do not find the word Ach, for "white," in the 
Mongol language now, the equivalent being chakhan ; but we have no dictionary 
of that language so old as the Yuen dynasty, since which it is probable consider- 
able changes may have taken place. The natural process, then, is to look for 
it in some cognate dialect, and we find it accordingly in the Turkish ?\, Ah, 

with the same meaning, this dialect being one of the most nearly allied to the 


comparatively clean ; but the suburb where we made a short halt was a scene 
of great activity, from the concourse of travellers ; and the numerous houses 
of entertainment full of life and bustle, appeared to be driving a lucrative trade. 
From this point we coursed along the south bank of the Lang-shwuy-ho for a 
mile or two, and then crossed it by a long low bridge, about three feet wide, 
with no parapet. This rises in the west of Lo-keang district, and after a south- 
easterly flow of about a hundred and thirty miles, in the course of which it 
passes the district cities of Lo-keang and Chung-keang, and the prefectural 
city of Tung-chuen, it enters the Pei-keang, and thus opens up a direct com- 
munication with Chung-king. There is said to be a connection between the 
head-waters and the Meen-yang river. A footpath of about a mile brought us 
to the Hih-shwuy-ho, somewhat narrower than the preceding, into which it 
flows at nearly a right angle. The source appears to be rather more distant, 
and the two channels run nearly parallel for the greater part of their length. 
This we crossed by a bridge similar to the preceding. There are a good many 
water-wheels on the left bank for the purpose of irrigation, some between 20 and 
30 feet in diameter, similar to those we had seen in great numbers before 
reaching Ching-too. From this the road begins to ascend again, and after 
passing two villages we arrived at the town of Kin-shan-poo, where we put 
up for the night. This is a very busy place, but the houses and shops have 
a mean appearance. Here we began to be subjected to the inconvenience 
of crowds round the door of our lodging-place, but it was merely the result of 
curiosity ; a feature, however, of which we had seen but slight indications 
hitherto in Sze-chuen. 

On the morning of the 30th we entered the department of Meen, and during 
the day passed through several poor little villages and hamlets, with nothing 
very notable. Just beyond the village of Shih-keaou-poo, a handsome stone 
portal crosses the road, soon after passing which our route lay alongside the 
Cha-ping-ho, a rapid river, red with mud from the heavy rain during the past 
night. This rises at Cha-ping-shan, some hills in the western part of the 
district of Gan, and, flowing in a direction nearly east, passes south of the 
district city, and enters the Pei a little to the south-east of the departmental 
city of Meen. Skirting this stream for a few miles, we crossed in a ferry-boat, 
and a short distance beyond crossed the Pei Eiver to the left bank, but soon 
after recrossed to the right, and entered the north gate of the city of Meen. 
There we found troops quartered, who were on their way to engage the 
Mohammedan rebels in Shen-se. 

The following morning we again crossed the Pei, running with a very swift 
current, about half a mile from the city ; and keeping down the left bank for 
a mile or two in an eastern direction, we crossed the Tung-ho by a stone bridge. 
This is a tributary of the Pei rising toward the north-east. Our day's journey 
took us through a number of poor and insignificant villages, with a military 
guard station generally about every four or five miles. These are easily dis- 
tinguished by the rude attempts to depict some of the sons of Mars armed cap- 
a-pie, of gigantic dimensions and in gaudy colours, on the whitewashed walls, 
while a rusty spear or two may occasionally be seen at the door ; and an official 
is said to be attached to each, whose services are sometimes required to forward 
a despatch. These stations are found throughout the greater part of China, at 
least the northern portions ; and are ostensibly intended to furnish escorts to 
travellers whenever demanded : but such an appendage on the road we were 
travelling would have been an utter superfluity. At many of the stations, 
three or five turrets, representing the old smoke telegraphs, still remain, but it 
is almost needless to say, they merely stand as symbols of the past. The road 
is hilly, with some steep ascents and descents. Half a mile beyond the small 
town of Yew-heang-poo, a seven-story pagoda stands in a valley on the north 
side of the road. Some of the valleys are very pretty, and the weeping. 


cypress grows there profusely. The wax-tree is also found, but rarely with the 
producing insect on it. Small patches of cotton were seen here and there. We 
stopped for the night at Wei-ching, a busy town of considerable size, sur- 
rounded by a stone wall, the day's route having taken a much more easterly 
bend than on previous days. 

Just beyond Wei-ching, an insignificant stream flows east into the Tsze- 
tung-ho ; and, at a distance of 10 miles, we reached a small stream dividing the 
department of Meen from the district of Tsze-tung, which flows south, and 
after a few miles joins the Wei-ching watercourse, when the united waters 
enter the Tsze-tung-ho. Less than 2 miles further we came to the small town 
of Shih-neu-poo, or " Stone Ox Stores," which takes its name from a natural 
stone formation on the top of a neighbouring hill, said to resemble a perfect ox. 
The road still lay along a succession of hills of no great height and sparsely 
wooded, but cultivated to a considerable extent with the taro or sweet potato, and 
occasional spots of rice on terraces. About half a mile before reaching the city 
of Tsze-tung, a good stone bridge took us across the Tsze-tung-ho, a rather 
wide and rapid river which rises in the northern part of the district ; after 
receiving several tributaries in its southward course it enters the Pei, making 
a flow of 160 miles or more. The site of the city may be distinguished at a 
great distance by a tall white eleven-story pagoda, which stands outside the 

Having spent the night in the city, our path next morning lay up a gentle 
ascent, and at a distance of 3 miles or more we passed a celebrated well, named 
the Koo-keen-tseuen, or " Ancient Sword Spring," famed for its medicinal 
virtues. A stone tablet by the side states that to have been formerly one of 
the most difficult and dangerous passages on the line, till a road was made by 
public subscription about the beginning of the present century. Three or four 
miles further, ascending a hill by a long flight of stone steps, we reached the 
mountain village of Keih-heang-poo, the reputed birthplace of Wan-chang-te, 
a Taouist celebrity, idolized as the god of literature. A very large and hand- 
some temple to his honour is erected on the slope of the hill, the receding 
apartments of which are ascended by successive flights of steps. Of course the 
principal hall is dedicated to Wang-chang, who is there enthroned in state; 
but several other idols have their shrines in the adjoining apartments. To the 
right of the main building, a smaller one contains an effigy of the hero seated 
on his mule ; and the attendant priest points to an opening in the rock behind 
the figure, which he says is the mouth of a subterranean passage, through 
which Wan-chang was accustomed to make a journey on his mule to the 
province of Shen-se and back daily when on earth. By permission I got up to 
examine the hole, and found it scarcely big enough for an ordinary man to 
crawl into, to say nothing of a mule ; but he was ready with the reply, that as 
no one had passed through for so many ages it was gradually contracting. 
Several attemps he said had been made in former times to effect a passage, but 
every adventure had been repelled by strong gusts of wind. The various 
members of the family of the sage are enshrined in a building higher up. In 
the centre shrine are his father and mother, and in a smaller one above it the 
effigy of his grandmother ; on the right are the sage and his wife, and on the 
left his sister. _ Along the right end wall are his six sons ; and against the 
opposite end, his four daughters and two daughters-in-law, one with a baby at 
her breast. On the opposite side of the road a flight of steps up a mound leads 
to a shrine, where he is represented in a reclining posture. Still higher up is 
a small building, containing nothing but a stone couch with some sculpture on 
the front, which is said to be the veritable article on which he slept. Adjoining 
this building is a square stone enclosure, with an old cypress-tree inside, which 
is pointed out as the tree to which he was accustomed to tie his mule. The 
local legends about this worthy are very numerous, and few of the Taouist in- 


ventions have gained a wider celebrity than that of Wan-chang. The many 
minature pagoda-looking structures that are seen all over China are dedicated 
to him. These are especially numerous in Sze-chuen, and also in Canton 
province, where they are called Wan-ta or Menta. The Taouists look upon 
him as the material impersonation of a constellation in the northern hemi- 
sphere, which bears the same name, and the six stars of that constellation are 
frequently symbolized by the hexagon form of the turrets. His recorded 
biography gives his family name as Chang, and the date of the second 
century of our era. He is said, however, to have had many incarnations ; 
and there is a small exhortation to virtue, the Yin-chih-wan, which has been 
handed down as his production, in which such a statement is put prominently 

About 7 miles beyond this famous temple we came to Shan-ting-poo, which 
struck me much at first sight with its resemblance to a Swiss mountain-village. 
The inhabitants in that region are sufficiently poor, and provisions we found 
scarce. Little was to be had but hard cakes, made of coarse flour and water, 
besides cucumbers and several other items of vegetable diet. Their tea is one 
of the most detestable of beverages, and in other circumstances would be un- 
recognizable to a European palate. These remarks do not apply peculiarly to 
the village in question, but are common to the route for many days' journey ; 
and this is perhaps the more remarkable as the inhabitants depend in a great 
measure for their livelihood on supplying the wants of travellers. Such is the 
hardihood and frugality of these mountaineers. Here for the first time since 
leaving the plain, we found mules largely employed as beasts of burden ; and 
it required some little skill for our chairs to thread their way through the 
droves, as we passed up the narrow street where they were halting for their 
feed. A little beyond this we began to meet with coolies carrying huge 
packs on their backs, after the manner so picturesquely described by the Abbe 
Hue. They carry a staff in the hand, by means of which they frequently rest 
in the road, placing the staff under the pack behind them, to relieve them of 
the weight as they stand to take breath. ,We found the tree-insect wax pro- 
duced on a small scale in the neighbourhood of the village of Yung-woo-poo- 
Towards evening we reached our halting-place at Woo-leen-yih, after crossing 
the Se-ho. This river rises among the Woo-tsze hills, in the north-west of 
the department of Keen, and after a course of about 140 miles, receiving two 
tributaries on the way, it enters the Kea-ling-keang, the direct course to 

On August 3rd, after a detention of several hours on account of the rain, we 
commenced the ascent of a steep hill by a zigzag road. A little beyond the 
summit is a memorial chapel to Choo-ko Leang by the roadside, and this is 
but one of some tens, perhaps hundreds, dedicated to this hero, to be found in 
Sze-chuen, so great are the posthumous honours conferred on him. About 
12 miles from our starting place we came to Lew-she-kow ; a busy little 
town, just beyond which a stone bridge led across the Lew-kow, a small river 
tributary to the Se-ho. Arrived at the village of Chow-ya-tsze, we made a 
very steep descent into a valley, where a pagoda on a neighbouring hill comes 
in view, looking down upon the departmental city of Keen. Within 2 miles 
of the last-named village, a winding and picturesque path led us up to the city, 
which lies on a declivity, and is closely surrounded by an amphitheatre of 
steep hills. The wall is in good condition, but there is only one street through 
the city of any consequence, and a great part of that is poor. The people 
were very peaceable and friendly. The hills over which we had been travelling 
most of the day were of moderate height, formed of red sandstone in horizontal 
strata, with conglomerate cropping out in places, and cultivated in terraces to 
the top, millet being the principal produce. There is a good stone road the 
greater part of the way from the district city of Tsze-tung to Keen-chow and a 


•considerable distance beyond ; and the outline may be traced far off by a 
double line of weeping cypress-trees occurring at intervals ; sometimes only 
one or two together, bui in many places forming quite an avenue of fine old 
specimens. These were planted and the road made by Le Peih, the governor 
of Keen-chow in the early part of the sixteenth century, so that many of the 
trees have gone to decay. 

Our progress through this country was slow and tedious according to 
European notions. "We had stipulated, on leaving Ching-too, to reach the 
prefectural city of Hanchung in fourteen days at the outside, and we were 
anxiously counting the days as we advanced from stage to stage. Not only 
was the want of provisions and suitable accommodation rather trying to our 
European constitutions ; but there was the farther risk that by delaying on 
the way, we might be overtaken by the rainy season, when several of the 
streams that we had to pass would become so swollen as to be impassable for 
days, and perhaps for weeks ; a disaster we wished by all means to escape. 
Under these circumstances we had been several times irritated by the attempts 
of our coolies to procrastinate on the way. These men belonged to a hardy 
race, who possess few of the comforts of life, and care little for them. Their 
great vice is gambling, to which they are passionately addicted ; and for the 
gratification of which they do not scruple to sacrifice the interests of them- 
selves and their employers. Several times had this proclivity come into 
collision with our determination to speed on the way, and on the morning of 
the 4th we came to a dead-lock, by their absolute refusal to move that day. 
Our only resource was an appeal to the civil power ; we were courteously 
received at the office of the magistrate, and the requisite pressure being put in 
force, our coolies trotted off with their respective burdens with as good a grace 
as might be expected. Leaving the city by the east gate, we crossed the Keen- 
shwuy by a bridge. This small river is formed by the junction of two 
branches, and enters the Kea-ling-keang, after a course of between 30 and 40 
miles. During the after part of the day we had several abrupt ascents and 
descents, but passed no place of importance till wo reached Keen-mun-kwan, 
our halting-place for the night. This is a busy town and a place of con- 
siderable celebrity in early history. We were now at the foot of the Ta-keen- 
shan, a range of lofty hills which had been in distant view for several days 
past. They are quite different in character from those over which we had 
be.en travelling for a week. The general direction of the range is north-east, 
with spurs branching out southward. The southern declivity is inclined at 
about 30°, and covered with verdure, but not cultivated. The crests are 
serrated in the most grotesque forms, and the northern sides have the appear- 
ance of being abrupt precipices. They extend away, range beyond range, till 
lost to vision. The "Wor-tsze or " Five Sons " hills had been in sight for two 
days past, in a north-westerly direction. These are five remarkable conical 
peaks of similar outline ; four of which appear exactly the same height, and 
are stated in the topography to have an altitude of 5000 feet, but I do not 
think they are near so much. 

Next morning, following the course of a small stream, named the Keen-mun- 
shwuy, we soon reached the sombre pass of Keen-mun, an opening in the 
range of hills less than a hundred yards wide, with precipitous cliffs on either 
side, the greater part conglomerate, overlaid by sandstone, with some thin 
strata of the same at intervals. A little way in, at the foot of the eastern cliff, 
are a number of memorial tablets, which doubtless contain records of interest, 
but time would not admit of our stopping to examine them. The ancient 
name of the road through this pass is the Shlh-new-taou or " Stone Ox Road," 
and carries with it a curious tradition to the following effect. In the fourth 
century B.C., this mountain range formed an impassable barrier between the 
kingdom of Tsin on the north, and that of Shuh on the south. The King of 


Tsin, meditating the conquest of Sliuh, was induced to resort to artifice to aid 
him in his project. Aware of the avaricious propensity of his southern 
neighbour, he caused five stone figures of oxen to be made, and every night 
had a quantity of gold secretly scattered on the ground below their tails ; till 
the report gained currency that this was the ordinary excrement of these 
miraculous animals. Their fame having spread to the kingdom of Shuh, the 
cupidity of the prince was excited, and he expressed a wish to be the possessor 
of the wonderful oxen. This desire reaching the ears of the King of Tsin, he 
gracefully offered them in a present. But then it was necessary to make a 
road through the mountains for their transport, and the cutting in the Ta-keen- 
shan was made for this purpose. The breach in the hill once effected, the 
King of Tsin soon followed the oxen with a large army and subjugated Shuh, 
the prince of which thus fell a victim to his own avarice. 

Towards the middle of the pass the road runs under a building called the 
Keen-ko, the modern representative of an ancient pavilion, built by Chco-ko 
Leang, which carries the memory down to the third century of our era. The 
ground story is surrounded by a battlement, and there are two stories above it. 
Once through the breach in the loftier range, we found ourselves in a valley 
surrounded by rugged and barren declivities, in some places perpendicular 
heights ; and after continuing our route for a mile or two, the gradual ascent 
and descent of a lower range, brought us, at a distance of 10 miles, to the 
village of Ta-muh-shoo. Near this are several remarkable rugged peaks 
standing out prominently, high above the general outline ; and one of these, 
with a large temple on the top, forms a very conspicuous object, which we 
passed very close to, a mile or two after leaving the village. The Keen-mun 
stream was visible in the valley below us along a considerable part of the day's 
journey. This unites with the Hwang-sha-keang, a river rising among the 
Mo-teen hills, on the border of Shen-se province, and flowing east for more 
than a hundred miles, after receiving several tributaries, the united waters 
enter the Pih-shwuy Eiver. Cultivation was much more sparse than in the 
previous part of our journey ; the villages and hamlets were wretched enough, 
and the people miserably poor. 

A few miles more brought us to the New-tow-shan, a conspicuous hill, from 
which we made a steep descent, with the district city of Ohaou-hwa in sight 
in the valley below. The Kea-ling Eiver is seen winding round the east side, 
and there, for the first time since leaving Ching-too, we found cargo-boats 
struggling up against the current ; so that the passage by water may be made 
between that city and Chung-king, passing the prefectural cities of Paou-ning 
and Shun-king on the way. The Pih-shwuy-keang, one of its chief tribu- 
taries, is seen entering on the north side of the city. This rises in Tartary, 
and after a course of 1800 miles enters the province of Shen-se, where re- 
ceiving some very considerable affluents, it enters the district of Chaou-hwa, 
and unites with the Kea-ling within a mile of the city. 

We made but a short journey on the 6th, from the city of Chaou-hwa to 
that of Kwang-yuen, about 14 miles, with little worthy of note on the way. 
About a mile from the former city, where we crossed the Kea-ling River,, 
there is a strong rapid, by which even the skilled ferrymen are sometimes 
carried away beyond their calculation. The road for the greater part lay along 
the foot of the hills skirting the river. Within two miles of Kwang-yuen, we 
entered on a small alluvial plain, and made our way through fields of maize 
to the Taoa-pa, a small river rising on the north-east, locally called the 
Nan-ho. Crossing this by the ferry, we were immediately in an extensive and 
busy suburb, where we put up for the day outside the west gate. There is a 
lofty cliff on the opposite side of the river, with four huge chambers excavated 
in it. These I was informed had been inhabited in ancient times, but could 
not get any definite information on the subject. A little to the north is a 


small excavation, said to have been the shrine where the empress Woo-tsih- 
teen, of the Tang dynasty, worshipped ; and a white building close by, named 
the Soo-se-low, is pointed out as her habitation when a Buddhist nun. There 
is a camp on the north side of the city, which rendered it desirable that our 
stay should be as short as possible, but no persuasion could make our coolies 
go farther that day ; and it was only after some litigation that we could get 
them away on the next. 

Some 3 or 4 miles from the city the following morning, we were at the 
village of Tseen-fuh-yae, or the " Thousand Buddha Precipice," which derives 
its name from the cliff immediately beyond, this being one of the most re- 
markable pieces of Buddhist sculpture in China. Probably the number indi- 
cated in the name is no over-estimate, for there would seem to be a shrine to 
almost every idol in the Buddhist pantheon. Some are in small recesses cut 
only a few inches deep ; others are in caves capable of holding several people, 
and at one of such a flight of stone steps conducts to the entrance. Every 
available spot from the highest pinnacle down to the ground seems to be 
covered, and the names of the principal idols are placed over them. In ancient 
times, the cliff here rose abruptly from the river, and had a wooden stage 
suspended to it, by which the transit was effected ; but during the Tang 
dynasty, Wei Hang had a road excavated — a work of great utility, which he 
supplemented by the highly decorative assemblage of idol shrines, which are 
supposed to afford a peculiar sanctity and security to the place. I was gravely 
informed that a golden boat lies embedded in the river just in front, and may 
be seen occasionally. Possibly the peculiar appearance of the particles of mica 
at times, may have given strength to the legend. About midday we reached 
the village of Seu-kea-ho, divided by the river into two parts, the largest 
portion being on the west side. This is entirely dependent on the coal trade, 
there being extensive mines in the neighbourhood. The price of good coal at 
the wharf there is about 8s. the ton. Continuing by a rugged rocky path till 
we came to the Too-mun Hill, we there deviated from the river-bank for a 
little, and ascended a steep and narrow path to the hamlet and pass of Pei-seen- 
kwan on the crest of the hill, where there is a barrier gate in an embattled 
wall. On the north-east of the pass is a steep pyramidal-shaped, and almost 
isolated hill, named Wei-fung-shan, with a temple to the ancient sage Shun 
on the summit. Round this the river makes a circuitous bend, and on 
emerging from the pass, we find it again flowing past almost beneath. With 
the exception of this little bend, our path all day lay along the bank of the 
Kea-ling River ; and towards dusk we found the stream suddenly contracted 
within very narrow limits, between precipitous banks. Overtaken by darkness, 
we found it necessary to halt for the night in a very miserable village, with 
accommodation scarcely above zero. 

On the move at a very early hour next morning, 8 miles over a rough 
limestone path, brought us, ere the sun was well above the horizon, to the 
Chaou-teen-kwan, a pass on the top of a hill named the Chaou-teen-ling. A 
temple covering both ends of the double gateway, with a connecting wing on 
the east side, contains the effigies of a number of canonized historical personages 
of the Three-kingdoms period. There is a fine gorge in the river close by, 
called the Ming-yue-hea, or " Bright Moon Gorge." The descent from the pass 
is by a long and in part precipitous zigzag road, which led us to the town of 
Chaou-teen-yeh. Passage-boats come up from the city of Kwang-yuen to this 
place in a day, and go down in much less time. On the north of the town, the 
Tseen-shwuy, a broad shallow stream whioh comes down from the borders of 
Shen-se, enters the Kea-ling River. After crossing this there was a steep and 
wearisome ascent of a couple of miles ; but on reaching the summit, the road 
lay along the declivity for 5 miles more, through a landscape of singular 
beauty, till we stopped at the Lung-mun-ko, an open shed and gateway across 


the road, occupied by vendors of comestibles. A very little to the west of this 
is a natural curiosity of a rare and curious character. A precipitous limestone 
cliff, near a thousand feet high, has a natural tunnel under it, called the Lung- 
tung, about two hundred feet high at the mouth, but suddenly contracting to 
much smaller dimensions. Here the Tseen River enters and becomes lost to 
view, giving forth a sound like the rush of some great cataract. Passing 
under the hill, it emerges again some 2 or 3 miles lower down, and enters the 
Kea-ling on the north of Chaou-teen-yih. This river is mentioned in the 
" Tribute-roll of Yu " in the " Shoo-king," thus :— " The To and the Tseen 
were conducted by their proper channels." The Tseen is but a small stream 
compared with the Kea-ling, but it may have been larger in ancient times. 
My companion picked up some fossils at the entrance to the cave. From this 
a tortuous and hilly road led us by a very abrupt descent, just about dusk, to 
the bank of the Tseen River again, which our coolies forded without difficulty. 
The local name of the river there is the Yen-kea-ho, where it forms a great 
bend, nearly three-quarters of a circle, in the loop of which stands the 
town of Keaou-chang-pa, our halting-place for the night. It is a very quiet 
retired spot, with scarcely any business doing except on market days, 
which occur nine times in each month. It is entirely surrounded by high 
hills, with a dark rugged range appearing above the others away to the east. 
The river is clear as crystal, with a stony bottom, and convenient places for 

Having spent a day at Keaoau-chang-pa, we were on the way by moonlight 
on the morning of the 10th August, and before daybreak crossed the boundary 
between the provinces of Sze-chuen and Shen-se, at the Tseih-pwan Pass. A 
solitary priest was already at his matins by the light of a lamp, the mono- 
tonous clang of his sonorous pot, as he sat by the gate, calling upon passing 
travellers to contribute to the cause. As the light of day burst upon us, it 
revealed a scene of romantic grandeur, through which we were clambering up 
and down steep and rugged pathways. During the day we passed through 
several poor villages, and early in the afternoon arrived at the departmental 
city of Ning-keang, the first we had come to in Shen-se. The place appeared 
to be excessively poor, with scarcely any trade. The Pih-yen River takes 
its rise from a mountain-stream in the vicinity of the Tseih-pwan Pass, 
and flows north-west of the city, where it is joined by another stream from 
the north, along which our route lay. The united stream then flows 
north-east, and, after receiving a tributary from the south, disembogues into 
the Han. 

A great fall of rain had taken place during the night, and it continued till 
the afternoon of the 11th, when it was most difficult to get our coolies to 
move, as they declared the river so swollen as to be unfordable. Having 
ascertained, however, that there was still a chance, we felt that the urgency of 
the occasion demanded every effort ; for, should the rain continue, the case 
was becoming worse every hour, and we might be detained for many days. 
At length we succeeded in getting on the way, and though the rush was 
coming down with considerable velocity we were still able to manage it. The 
road, if it can be so called, lay up a narrow ravine, cut off alternately on either 
side by steep rocks, so that we had to ford the stream about ten times and got 
most of our baggage drenched, coming to a halt at Woo-le-po, a mountain 
village, scarcely 7 miles from the city. 

Next morning the water went down as rapidly as it had risen the day 
before, and there was no difficulty in fording the stream dry-shod ; for some 
part of the way our path lay in the bed of the current. A few miles on the 
road we reached the Woo-ting-hea, a gorge in the mountain, named after the 
five stone-oxen which the King of Tsin presented to the King of Shuh. On 
ascending a hill a short distance beyond, a stone tablet records the fact of that 


being the road that was opened up for the occasion ; and about a mile farther 
is the Woo-ting harrier, adjoining which is a small village, called the Kin- 
neu-yih, or " Gold Ox Station." Continuing the journey through a narrow 
defile, we come to the Han-yuen-kow on the left, an insignificant stream, 
which our coolies walked over without any trouble. This is the source of the 
great River Han, and rises at the Po-ch'ung hill, only a few miles to the west. 
This is alluded to in the " Tribute-roll of Yu " thus : — " Prom Po-ch'ung he 
surveyed the Yang, which, flowing eastwards, became the Han." This, then, 
is the ancient Yang River. Two or three miles beyond we stopped for the day 
at the garrison-town of Ta-gan, where there are three camps, with some 1000 
to 2000 troops. There is a tributary stream there, the Ta-gan-shwuy, half as 
large as the main channel, which is crossed by a wooden bridge and discharges 
its waters on the south-east of the town. 

Our journey on the 13th lay along the left bank of the Han, and, as there 
had been a heavy fall of rain, the mountain-currents were much swollen and 
there was some difficulty in fording them. A rather formidable one flows 
through the village of Tsing-yang-yih, and 5 miles further is a broad and 
swift-flowing stream, immediately beyond which we halted for the day at the 
village of Tsae-pa. 

Having now reached the highest point of the river to which boats ascend, 
next morning we took passage by water for the prefectural city of Han-chung, 
such being less laborious and more expeditious than chair-travelling. At 
about 6 or 7 miles' distance the waters of the Meen-shwuy, flowing in from 
the north, unite with the Han at a spot called Tsin-kow. This river is formed 
by the union of three confluents, and appears larger and swifter than the Han 
where the two unite. Three miles lower down are some abrupt cliffs on the 
right bank, and 5 miles more brought us to the district city of Meen on the 
left bank. The wall was in very good condition, but the whole enclosure 
seemed to be one great field of maize, some five or six huts being the only- 
human habitations. The whole population, including the official establish- 
ments, is collected in a large suburb on the east side, enclosed by an earth- 
wall, which is now a ruin. The city was founded by the renowned Choo-ko 
Leang, whose grave is situated 3 miles to the south-east at the Ting-keun 
hill. During the summer floods, when the gorges on the Yang-tsze are almost 
impassable, it is customary for native merchants to reach Sze-chuen via the 
Han ; and, having reached this point, they take mules to cross the hills, about 
40 miles, to the Kea-ling River, by which there is a direct communication 
with Chung-king and the principal places in the province. Prom the city of 
Meen eastward the hills recede from the river, leaving a level valley of several 
miles in width, which extends some distance beyond the city of Han-chung. 
Hwang-sha-yih is a considerable town on the left bank, 2 or 3 miles below 
the city, standing back about a le from the river. A few miles below this a 
stream runs in from the north, and a little way beyond the Pih-yen River, 
from Nin-keang, discharges on the right bank. Ten or 12 miles further, the 
Hih-lung-keang, a large river, enters the Han on the left bank. This vises 
from two sources on the west side of the Tae-pih mountain, on the southern 
border of the district of Mei, flows east and then south, receives a num- 
ber of tributaries, and passes the district city of Paou-ching, discharging 
its waters after a course of 170 miles. The Ke-tow Pass is seen, far away 
to the north, on the summit of a mountain range. Overtaken by thick dark- 
ness and heavy rain, we came to a halt within a few miles of the prefectural 

The rain continued during the 15th, and prevented any extensive perambu- 
lations through the city, which seems to be of moderate size, with nothing 
very imposing in the streets. A tolerably extensive suburb separates it nearly 
a mile from the river on the south, and there is a much larger one outside the 


east gate, enclosed by a mud wall, now almost demolished.* We had hoped 
to hire a boat there to take us down to Laou-ho-kow, hut none of the boat- 
men were willing to start till after the 1st of the Chinese month, which would 
be four days ; and it depended on the state of the river whether they would 
move then, for they said there was a gorge 30 miles long, which they dared 
not risk unless the water fell several feet. Ascertaining, further, that the 
road by land to the eastern end of the gorge was much shorter, and that boats 
were to be got there, we decided on continuing our journey by chairs as far as 
the town of Oha-chin. 

Having settled all preliminaries for a chair-journey, we left Han-chung in 
the forenoon of the 16th, and travelled all day over a flat country, chiefly 
occupied by fields of rice and maize. At a distance of 8 miles from the city 
we crossed the Han in a ferry-boat, the river there being about 300 yards in 
breadth, with shallow slope on the left bank and a deep channel and swift 
current on the right. Eight miles beyond this we arrived at the Nan-sha-ho, 
a tolerably broad, shallow river, rising in the south, which our coolies were 
just able to ford, the chairs dipping slightly in the water. Two miles further 
on we put up for the day at the small village of Tseih-le-teen, where a 
festival of several days' duration was in process. The peasantry from the neigh- 
bourhood were gathered together in their holiday attire, the great object of 
rustic attraction being a theatrical performance with wooden puppets. One 
unlucky wight was chained to the stage all day, doing penance for his master, 
who had refused to contribute his quota towards the f§te ; but he appeared to 
bear the penalty with the philosophic resignation of a martyr. The only house 
of entertainment for travellers was crowded to overflowing and the one private 
chamber was allotted to us, but it was scarcely equal, in point of comfort, to a ' 
respectable coalhole. We had to wait till the company dispersed, to get some 
boards on which to manufacture sleeping-places. This, however, was not 
much of an exception to many of our lodgings, but may be rather taken as a 
sample of the majority. 

Next day we made 30 miles, mostly over hills, passing several villages and 
hamlets on the way, and stopped for the night at the small town of Sha-ho- 
kan. Our route, for a great part of the day, lay in the neighbourhood of the 
Ke-leaou-shan water, a tributary of the Sha-ho, which runs through the above- 
named town. The Sha-ho rises at Low Hill, in the north-west of Se-heang 
district. Paper is manufactured among the hills not far distant, which gives 
rise to a good deal ot traffic. Our hotel accommodation was inferior, if possible, 
to that of the previous night. 

Seven miles over the hills next morning brought us to the village of Koo- 
clmh-pa, where a stream from the east of the Koo-yuh Pass enters the Muh- 
ma River ; and 3 miles lower down we halted at the town of Ma-tsung-tan, 
on the left bank of the latter. This river rises at Me-tsang Hill, in the south- 
west of Se-heang district, on the border of Sze-chuen province, and, flowing 
north-east, enters the Yang on the east of the district city. Taking a boat at 
Ma-tsung-tan, we floated down rather rapidly with the current for 17 miles to 
the city. This seems to be a busy, thriving place, and there is a considerable 
suburb on the south side. Entering by the east gate, we left by the north, 
and scarcely a mile beyond our men forded the river, opposite the village of 
Tung-too-kow. Passing another village^ we soon crossed the Yang in a ferry- 

* This appears to be the capital of the country named by Marco Polo Cuncun, 
or Cancun (Han-chung), where he says: — "We will now take leave of this 
kingdom, and give account of a province abounding in mountains which is called 

Cuncun, and is a very wearisome road to travel And at the end of three 

days one meets with lofty mountains and great valleys, which pertain to the 
province of Cuncun." 


boat. This river rises in the south-east of the district of Se-heang, among the 
hills to the north of the Yen-ohang Pass, on the border of Sze-chuen, and, 
flowing north, receives the waters of the Muh-ma and another affluent before 
it enters the Han. Pour miles farther on we stopped at a solitary house on 
the top of a hill, our coolies absolutely refusing to go farther that night ; so 
our whole party of twenty-four persons, besides the family, including pigs, 
fowls, and dog, had to put ivp in a common apartment — and that not a very 
large one either — except that three or four of the coolies stowed themselves 
away in a closet too begrimed with dirt and loaded with dust for us to venture 
in. For the past two days we had had a range of lofty hills in view on the 
north, bordering the Han, and now we were rapidly approaching them. 
During the day we passed a number of the large water-wheels used for irrigating 
the fields by raising water from the stream to heights of 20 or 30 feet. There 
is a very accurate description and representation of these machines by Staunton, 
in his narrative of Lord Macartney's embassy. 

On the 19th we were on the way at an early hour, and at a distance of 
15 miles reached the small town of Pih-meen-hea, at the further end of a 
valley completely enclosed by high hills. Beyond this there was not even 
a village for 14 miles, till we reached the town of Cha-ke-chin, or, as it is 
commonly called, Cha-chin, on the Han. This stands on the left of the 
embouchure of the Yang, which is also called the Cha-ke, that being the 
name of a tributary flowing in from the south. Cha-chin is a poor little 
place built on a point of rock, and there we had expected to get a boat to 
take us on our way, but had the mortification to find they had all been taken 
away that morning for the Government service. Fortunately, however, a 
boat came up in the evening with passengers, and we engaged it to take us 
down to the district city of Shih-tseuen the following day. Our road all day 
had been through mountain-ravines and over hill-tops, embracing some fine 
scenery. Much of the path was bordered by the date, walnut, Tung-oil,* 
and a variety of other trees. The rocks are limestone, and near the Han the 
strata are perpendicular. The cottagers by the wayside were engaged in 
the silk manufacture. 

The current carried us rapidly down the stream, making the passage of 
20 miles in three hours, or less. The course nearly all the way was between 
abrupt hills, with occasional precipices ; and in some places the river is con- 
fined within a very narrow channel. There are two rapids in the interval 
caused by reefs. About midday we came in sight of the district city, and 
soon anchored against the western suburb, which is rather extensive, but 
poor in apppearance. The Chin-choo River rises at the Yun-woo Hill on the 
north, and joining the Heang-tsze River from the north-west, enters the 
Han, a little to the west of the suburb. The city is built on a red sandstone 
rock; and there is a spring of deliriously clear and refreshing water just 
under the southern wall, from which the city derives its name, "Stone 
Spring." The place within the walls is small, and has one busy retail street 
from the east to the west gate. The market is but poorly supplied with 
vegetables, fruit, and meat. We found a number of boats lying at anchor 
there, but most of them were retained for the Government service. After 
some ineffectual negotiation among those that were at liberty, the city 
magistrate, who was very friendly towards us, gave up one of the boats he 
had sealed, and arranged for our passage to Hankow, to the mutual gratifica- 
tion of the boatman and ourselves. 

It was well on towards midday on the 21st before the skipper got all things 
ready, and by the time we started the water had begun to rise. The wind 

* Blakiston gives the botanical name of this as Ehcocca verrucosa. See ' Five 
Months on the Yang-tsze,' p. 137. 


sprang up soon after, and at a distance of 10 miles, while threading our way 
through a narrow and tortuous pass, just below the village of Leen-hwa-shih, 
the boat was carried off by the current, the men lost command, and it was 
borne irresistibly on a granite reef, known by the name of the Foo-paou-shih. 
The result was a considerable opening in one of the joints at the end, and the 
water began to flow in rapidly. By dint of caulking, however, this was pretty 
well stopped. The wind increased, and the water came down with a sudden 
rush, raising the river in that part some ten feet in three or four hours. 
Although the rock on which we struck was nearly four feet above the water, 
yet so rapidly did the water rise, that we might have passed over the same 
spot two hours later with impunity. Such fluctuations are doubtless caused 
by the fall of rain swelling the numerous tributaries towards the head-waters. 
Seven miles lower down, the Che-ho, coming from the Ma-hwang Hill on the 
north, disembogues into the Han. A little below the village of Yew-fang-kan 
we passed through a gorge with a heavy surge ; and eight or nine miles beyond, 
after passing a stream on the left, stopped for the night at the village of Mei-hoo 
on the right. There is a strong rapid opposite this place. A good deal of silk 
is produced and manufactured in the neighbourhood. 

On the 22nd we were detained till the afternoon, while a carpenter was 
repairing the damage of 'the previous day. Soon after moving, we passed 
several strong rapids, and the water had become excessively muddy. A 
number of fortresses appeared on the hill-tops in the neighbourhood. Many 
reefs run out from the left bank. About 30 miles on the way brought us to a- 
sharp bend in the river, called Tung-lo-wan, with a succession of strong rapids. 
Just beyond that we stopped for the day at the town of Han-wang-ching, 
although it was yet early ; our skipper fearing to risk the next rapid, called 
Kwan-tsze-tan, till the water went down somewhat. A boat which passed u& 
in the morning on the way down was anchored at the same place, having run 
against a rock, broken the rudder, and sprung a large leak. Having several- 
hours to spare, I visited a fortress, the Teen-paou-chae, on the top of a hill 5 
there, something over 400 feet high. It was built a few years back by the 
inhabitants, as a refuge against the rebels. The place is admirably adapted for 
defence, the ascent being steep on all sides ; and, with a well-trained force to 
defend it, no" enemy could ever approach. There were six two-story houses 
in tolerably good condition, in which a great number of natives could be 
stowed, but not a person was in occupation. Another fortress stood on the 
top of a high hill on the opposite side of the river. Tea and silk are produced 
in the neighbourhood, and form articles of commerce. 

As the water had subsided a great deal during the night, we started soon 
after sunrise on the 23rd. Within a mile of our anchorage, two small hill 
islands stood in the river, forming three narrow channels, of which we floated 
down the left-hand one. A little way beyond we passed a number of coal-pits 
on the left bank. Some five miles lower, the Seaou-sung Eiver from the north 
enters the Han, forming the boundary between the districts of Han-yin and 
Tsze-yang. There is a good deal of firewood in this part of the country, which 
the natives make up into faggots and pile up along the banks for sale. Our 
skipper filled every available corner with a cargo of it as a commercial specula- 
tion, some of the men also investing their money in a similar enterprise. Thirty- 
four miles beyond the last-named stream, the Choo-ho, a current of bright 
green water, enters the Han on the right, contrasting strongly in colour with 
the very muddy water of the latter as it becomes absorbed in it. This river 
rises, under the name of the Pih-keang, on the north of Hwang-tun Hill, in 
the east of the district of Tae-ping in Sze-chuen province, and enters Shen-se 
on the east of Maou-pa Pass ; it then joins the Choo-ho, another branch flowing 
in from the south of the district of Tsze-yang ; and after receiving several tri- 
butaries in its north-easterly course, it discharges its waters under the latter 


name, but is sometimes called also the .Tin-ho. Ten miles up this river is a 
quarry, famous for the production of ink-pallets. Nearly opposite, but a little 
lower, stands the city of Tsze-yang, a small place built on the summit of a low 
hill, with a scattered suburb spreading down nearly to the water's edge. 
Slates are produced in abundance in this neighbourhood, and most of the houses 
are roofed with them ; not cut to any regular shape, but heaped on just as 
chance seems to have decided the form. There we took a pilot on board, to 
guide us through a rapid about a mile below the city. The waves were like a 
little sea, and far exceeded anything of the kind we had previously come to on 
the Han. Ten miles below the city is a temple perched high up on the face of 
the cliff, named the Me-ke-seen-tung (Fairy Grotto of the Eice-stream) ; the 
tradition connected with which is, that in former times a small aperture in the 
rock was wont to pour out daily a quantity of rice, just sufficient for the num- 
ber of people depending on it ; it might be one, or it might be a hundred, the 
supply was always equal to the demand. A crevice was pointed out to us at 
the back of the principal idol, as the mouth of the mysterious spout, but on 
examining it, we found there was actually no opening deeper than two or three 
inches. A similar legend attaches to several spots in China. Nearly opposite, 
on the right bank, is the long village of Joo-ho, named after a river that rises 
in the vicinity of the Chwang-ho Pass to the south-west, and enters the Han 
there. We again got a pilot of the place to take us through the Joo-wau-tan, 
a rapid equal to the one near the city ; and also the Loo-tsze-tan, another 
great rapid, a mile or so lower down. Just below the villege of Ta-taou-ho, 
coal was being wrought in the face of the cliff; and a mile or two farther on 
we passed the Sin-tan, a rapid scarcely inferior to any we had yet encountered. 
Five or six miles beyond, there were numerous coal-pits on the right bank. 
Ten miles farther we stopped for the night, against the village of Lew-shwuy- 
teen on the left. 

A mile or two after leaving our anchorage next morning, we found them 
working coal in the cliff. About eight miles lower we passed the Lan-ho, a 
stream which rises at the Hwa-lung Hill, on the south-eastern boundary of the 
district, and receives two or three small affluents before it disappears in the 
Han. Somewhat lower the Heang-ho, a river rising in the south-west of 
Ping-le district, enters on the right. The Han retains much the same cha- 
racter, a tortuous channel of six or eight hundred yards wide between high 
hills for about 30 miles farther, when the prospect begins to open out, and a 
succession of low hills gradually decline to a plain of some tens of miles' extent. 
The Yue-ho, another considerable stream, which rises from two sources in the 
north-west of the district of Han-yin, passes the district city, and receiving a 
number of tributaries, large and small, enters the Han after a south-easterly 
course of nearly 150 miles. A few miles further east we reached the prefectural 
city of Hing-gau, the appearance of which does not strike one as first-class. 
As with many other Chinese cities, the business is mainly confined to a large 
suburb skirting the river. A good deal of silk manufacture is apparently 
carried on, and there is a considerable assemblage of boats. From that point 
there is a highway by land to Se-gau, the capital of Shen-se. We were detained 
half a day on account of some informality on the part of the skipper in 
arranging with the customs. Some miles beyond the city we passed the 
mouth of the Hwang-yang-ho, a river rising from two sources on the south- 
east boundary of the district of Ping-le, which passes the district city on the 
west, and the prefectural city on the east, in its northward course. The hills 
on each side resume their abrupt and lofty character, and the channel becomes 
more contracted. After passing two notable rapids the night closed upon us, 
and we continued our journey for several miles by moonlight, anchoring for 
the night at the village of Leu-ho-poo. The Leu-ho, a river rising among the 

VOL. xiv. 


hills south of the Tseih-le Pass on the border of Hoo-pih province, after 
receiving four tributaries in its northward course, enters the Han on the west 
of the village. 

Early on the 25th we reached another rapid, where it was necessary to get 
a native to guide us through ; and, 10 miles from our anchorage, arrived at 
the district city of Seun-yang. This is built on the top of a low mound, and 
appears to be but sparsely inhabited. On the east side of the city is the 
Seun-ho, which rises on the south-west of the Tae-yih Hill, in the north-east 
of the district of Hoo, and, flowing in a south-easterly direction, receives 
several affluents before uniting with the Chin-gau Eiver. The latter, bringing 
down the accumulated contents of the various streams in that district, increases 
very materially the volume of the Seun-ho, which flows into the Han, after a 
course of 170 miles. The only other affluent of the Han in Shen-se, comparable 
with this in magnitude, is the Hih-lung-keang in the prefecture of Han-chung. 
Twenty miles lower down, the town of Shuh-ho-kwan on the left, stands on 
both sides of the Kow-yuen-shwuy, which flows in from the north. There is a 
road from this place direct to Se-gau. Seven miles more brought us to the 
mouth of the Ta-tsung-ke on the left, a small stream in a ravine,, dividing 
the provinces of Shen-se and Hoo-pih on the north side of the Han. A con- 
siderable distance beyond, is the Lang-shwuy-ho on the right bank, flowing 
in from the south-west. A good way further on, the town of Kea-ho-kwan 
stands on the east side of 'the Kea-ho, a river also called the Keih-shwuy- 
ho, rising in the north-west of the district of Yuen-se, which receives two 
tributaries, and, after a flow of 80 miles, discharges on the left bank, 
east of the Kin-Ian Hill. On the summit of this hill is a temple of 
great celebrity, dedicated to Heuen-teen-shang-te. Seven miles beyond, we 
passed the Pih-ho on the right, a river flowing in from the south-west, also 
called the Ta-pih-shwuy-ho. To the east of this stands the district city of 
Pih-ho, curiously built over the summit of several hills, in a very irregular 
form. The buildings inside the wall being few and scattered, a good deal of 
the ground is cultivated. The principal part of the business, which does not 
seem great, is conducted in a long suburb running parallel with the river. On 
the east of the city, the Seaou-pih-sbih-shwuy, a small river which rises to 
the south-west, flows down a rocky ravine, and forms the boundary between 
Shen-she and Hoo-pih, on the south side of the Han. The length of the Han, 
from the source to this point, is about 440 miles. Just beyond this we anchored 
for the night. 

At 12 miles on the way next morning we passed the San-chung-ho on the 
right, a river flowing in from the south-east, with a village of the same name 
at the mouth. Some 30 miles eastward is the Hwang-leen-shwuy on the left, 
which rises from two sources near the northern boundary of the district. The 
streams unite on the south of the city of Yuen-se, from which the river flows 
south into the Han, making a course of nearly 60 miles in its greatest length. 
At no great distance beyond this, the Keuh-yuen-ho, or Keuh-ho, which also 
rises in the north of the district, not far from the Taou-ho, enters the Han on 
the left. The country bordering on the river now gets more open, the hills 
much lower and all cultivated, when we reach the mouth of the Tow-ho, a 
large river flowing in from the south. The source of this is near the point of 
junction of the three provinces of Tze-chuen, Shen-se, and Hoo-pih. After 
flowing west for 100 miles, it receives a large affluent from the north-west, 
which passes the district city of Chuh-ke ; the united stream, after receiving 
another principal tributary from the south, passes the district city of Chuh-shan 
on the east, and flows north into the Han, making in its greatest length a 
course of nearly 250 miles. The hills, which are of sandstone and conglome- 
rate in nearly horizontal strata, continued to decrease in height till we reached 


the prefectural city of Yuen-yang, where we anchored for the day, against the 
south-western suburb. A small stream from the south-west enters there on 
the right. A hill on the right bank, directly facing the city, is called the 
T'een-ma-shan, or " Hill of Pegasus," the tradition concerning which is, that 
in ancient times, when it split open, the cliff exhibited the three characters 

"tF £=£ -i- , Teen-ma-vxmg, " The King of the Celestial Horse." Ad- 

joining this, on a smaller hill, is a tall slender pagoda without galleries, named 
the Keth-sing-ta, " Polar-star Pagoda." There is a popular tradition concerning 
that also, that it was built by a former prefect, who suspected the fidelity of 
some of his wives, and that when the structure was raised in view of the official 
residence, such was the effect of the fung-shvmy or " geomantic "influence, the 
grievance ceased. It was built in the year a.d. 1755. Just facing the pagoda, 
the Wan-chang-ko, or Sanctum dedicated to Wan-chang, forms a conspicuous 
object inside the south-east corner of the city. There is a Keang-se guild in 
the city, and also a joint guild of the Shan-se and Shen-se traders, called the 

From this point to Hankow, the descent of the river occupied us nine days 
more, and we arrived in the afternoon of September 4th. 

4. Report on a Journey to the Upper Waters of the Niger from Sierra 
Leone. By W. Winwood Ebadb, Esq. 

(Communicated by the Colonial Office.) 

" Sib, " Sierra Leone, 21st December, 1869. 

" Although I have already made a report to your Excellency upon the 
details and results of my first journey into the interior from this Colony, it will 
be convenient for me to speak of it again as briefly as possible, since it is diffi- 
cult to separate the two journeys. In fact, I consider that from January 20th 
to November 5th, I have been engaged in one and the same expedition. The 
whole of that period of time, with the exception of a fortnight in June, was 
passed by me in the interior. Under the government of Sir Charles Macarthy, 
Major Laing travelled to Falaba, about 200 miles north-east of Sierra Leone. 
He was not allowed to pass that town, and, after remaining some time there, 
returned to the Colony. Nothing resulted from that journey, and since then 
half a century passed, and not a single traveller attempted to open up the 
country directly interior of this settlement. In my journey to Falaba, com- 
menced in January, 1869, I took a route different from that of Laing. He 
went from Mahello, I from Port Loko, and my route led me through the country 
of the Limboos, a people much dreaded by Native travellers, and through 
whom I had great trouble in passing. On my arrival at Falaba, I found that 
I was within three days' journey of the Niger ; but the King, following the 
example of his father, would not permit ' his white man ' to pass. I was 
detained at Falaba three months. 

" But though my journey had failed in a geographical sense, I saw that it 
could be turned to account for the benefit of the Colony. My journey through 
the Fimmanee country had proved to me that the stipend-system was an 
admirable instrument for the governing of Africa outside the British juris- 
diction, and I was convinced that it might be advantageously extended. 
Accordingly I brought down with me Deputies from the Kings of Falaba and 
Limbo. The Falaba envoys, delighted with the presents which they received 
from your Excellency, and even more delighted with the honours which had 

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